Not too long ago I parted company with $17 at Berkeley Bowl West for a 10-inch round of Cowgirl Creamery’s funky, pinkish Red Hawk. I buy this every once in awhile because it’s not only pricey, but incredibly rich. It’s a triple-cream cheese with a brine-washed rind that’s aged 4 weeks. It’s a bit soft when young, but becomes very soft and then runny when ripe. When very ripe, it’s got some serious stank going on – and I mean that in the best way possible. Spread on a crusty Acme sourdough roll with some raspberry preserves – you’re home.
Cowgirl Creamery has been putting out some excellent cheeses since 1997. They’re local (Point Reyes Station & Petaluma), and use local organic milk, so I like to give them business when my wallet allows me to.
Their most popular cheese may be Mt. Tam, a firm, buttery and earthy triple-cream, and it is good, but I can’t stay away from the lush and plush Red Hawk.
All their cheeses are award-winning. Have a look at their website before you pick some up so you know what you’re getting, but there’s no way you can go seriously wrong.
There’s a Cowgirl Creamery in the SF Ferry Building (One Embarcadero, San Francisco), which will allow you to purchase bread at The Acme Bread Company down the hall at the same time. Certain Bay Area markets, like Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl, usually have a decent selection, but Red Hawk can sometimes be hard to come by.
The Cheeseboard Collective (1504 Shattuck, Berkeley) is a place I’ve seen Cowgirl Creamery products, but I usually go there to be educated about some cheese I’ve never heard of. This is not only a great cheese shop, but it’s connected to the birth of California cuisine (think Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, which is across the street.) If you go to the Cheeseboard you can pick up some fabulous bread and olives, too, as well as a spectacular cheese roll, which you can eat on the way home.